Are you getting a class full of answers?

Date Published: 01-09-2023   Published By: OfficeStationery

school class

Thinking and Learning are Invisible

A big challenge for all teachers is trying to find out what all pupils are thinking and what all pupils are learning. This is because thinking and learning are invisible.

So how can you make these things visible? 

Yes, there are countless apps, games and worksheets you could call on, but how do you gauge understanding really quickly in the lesson without a ton of preparation?

Here is where Show-me boards come in. Show-me boards make everyone’s thinking and learning visible. 

Here’s an example; imagine you want to find out if your pupils know the capital of New Zealand, to do this, you ask them the question: what is the capital of New Zealand? 

If you were to let a pupil shout out, then all you find out is what that single pupil knows. If you choose who answers, but only one of the class gets a go, then you only find out about that individual.

But this doesn’t really help us as we want to find out the thinking and learning of every single pupil in our class. And this is what makes Show-me boards such a powerful tool. 

If every pupil is asked to answer on a Show-me board, you might see this…

Show-me boards with Auckland on

But more likely you would see this…

 Show-me boards with mix of Auckland and Wellington

But without using Show-me boards you would have never known for sure; you’d just be guessing.

This is why Show-me boards can be your best friend as they.

1) Make all pupils think.

2) Give all pupils time to think.

3) Make all pupils commit to a specific answer.

4) Make all pupils’ thinking and learning visible to you.

Immediate Feedback

By making all pupils’ thinking and learning visible, you can offer immediate feedback to individual pupils or perhaps the whole class quickly and easily.

For example, if you have asked a class to draw the chemical symbol for an aluminium ion, you might see this.

image of boards with different attempts at an aluminium ion diagram

Immediately, we can see who can do this correctly and who can’t. You can see who has made a small mistake and who has made bigger mistakes.

Based on what you see, you can say things to individual pupils like, ‘That’s almost right, but be careful to remember to…’ or ‘You’ve nearly got it correct but there’s just one small mistake. See if you can work out yourself and I’ll have another look in a moment’.

Alternatively, having seen everyone’s board, you might say to the class: ‘I could see almost everyone got that right - well done. Where I see mistakes, the most common one was…’

In other words, based on what you find out from Show-me boards, you can adapt your teaching in ways that you wouldn’t have thought to if you hadn’t used them because you have made the learning visible.

Checking Understanding 

Sometimes we say things to our class like ‘Do you understand?’ and we get them to let us know using their thumbs, or maybe traffic light cards. But this only tells us about what they think they know not about what they really know.

So, you need to get pupils to prove it. They need to show us what they know and can do. You can find endless ways to do this using Show-me boards and that way, we can get proof from everyone.

That’s why Show-me boards are essential in the classroom.

How will you use Show-me boards in your next lesson?

Full range of Show-me products including great value classpacks, pens, erasers and cleaners available from Office Stationery.

Click here to see the range.

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